People wait to take COVID-19 test outside a clinic in New York, the United States, July 8, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
Long waiting times for COVID-19 test results in the United States is hindering the country's efforts to stem the spread of the disease, according to The Washington Post.
Overly long wait times often render the test results "useless" as it makes contact tracing almost futile, Crystal Watson, a public health expert at Johns Hopkins University, was quoted as saying.
"By the time a person is getting results, they already have symptoms, their contacts may already have symptoms and have gone on to infect others," the expert said.
The United States is seeing a surging number of newly-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and demand for testing, resulting in an inadequate amount of essential medical equipment including swabs, chemical reagents, test kits and machines.
Adding to the predicament are logistical delays, according to the Post, given the length of times it takes to collect and transport the samples, as well as return the results to people and health agencies.